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North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile From Submarine, South Says
North Korea fired what was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast on Saturday, according to the South Korean military.
The missile flew only 19 miles, a flight too short to be called a successful launch, South Korea's Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. Still, the test provided the latest evidence that North Korea was building a submarine-launched ballistic missile in defiance of a United Nations ban on the country for developing such weapons.
The United States' North American Aerospace Defense Command also confirmed the North Korean missile launch from a submarine, saying it did not pose a threat to North America.
On Sunday, North Korea claimed that it had successfully conducted the missile test. The country's official news agency said the test was to confirm the stability of a solid-fuel ballistic missile launched from a submarine and "the working accuracy of a nuclear detonating device of a warhead" at a designated altitude.
North Korea "is now capable of hitting the heads of South Korean puppet forces and the U.S. imperialists anytime as it pleases, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, was quoted as saying while watching the launch, according to the state news agency.
The test took place at 6:30 p.m. in waters northeast of the port city of Sinpo, South Korea's statement said. North Korea's naval base at Sinpo is a center for the isolated country's efforts to develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which would add to the range, secrecy and flexibility of its missile systems.
In November, the South's intelligence service said that North Korea had conducted a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile that ended in failure. On Saturday, the South Korean military said that North Korea tried the same test in December but again failed.
On April 15, the North carried out what American and South Korean officials said was a failed launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Musudan.
[Source: By Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, Seoul, 23Apr16]
East China Sea Conflict
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